Skip to main content
9:00 am
warner cable partner, booktv welcomes you to albany. and the next hour our local content vehicle producers traveled the area as we explore the livery seen in new york's capital city and surrounding towns. .. >> and programs with young writers and a summer institute that we in saratoga. >> my life in the last few years
9:01 am
was, i suppose you'd call it adventurous. but this thing ruined everything. [laughter] >> we go far and wide, find the best writers that we can ask and bring them to albany. it's like bringing the world the a particular place. and i don't think -- i can't think of any other organization, even some of the better known ones in major cities that have such a regular flow of creative talent coming through and at no cost to the public. with our open door policy. we bring the literary world to albany. so all these people whose names, faces and dates, events you see are people who have come from far and wide to read to the general public here. and we've had somewhere, my most recent count now has gotten us up to at least 10 or probably 11
9:02 am
nobel laureates across the years ranging from toni morrison who actually used to teach at albany to most recently a south african writer, and along the way, i don't know, people like the nigerian writer, wally, or the caribbean writer derek walcott, or the irish poet, seamus haney. or -- the names go on. but along the way we archive all of the -- by video and audio -- all of the people who have come through. so we have left a foot print, they have left a footprint, and the institute was founded in 1983 but officially became the new york state writer's institute in 1984, and over the years we've had more than a thousand writers through. >> my sister was a rabid
9:03 am
conservative who, actually, worked at w's first convention. and she couldn't get a room, so she ended up having to stay with me, and she brought a sign she was holding that said "w stands for women." [laughter] and i said you can stay, but the sign has to go. [laughter] >> as a result, we have a very extensive archive of those writers, the readings, interviews with them, and i guess we like to think of ourselves as perhaps becoming the c-span of literature. i don't know, we'll see what happens with that. but we're about to roll out a, was, in essence, a kind of research library of all of these videos and audios that we've collected over the years. we're told by many people it's the most thorough-going archive of contemporary writing that
9:04 am
they know of in america. one of the things that helps is to be writers ourselves and to know what makes a writer comfortable, to respect a writer who has come for a visit and not treat that writer like some sort of circus side show. and to engage that person in conversation. we often like to say and joking among ourselves that we invite writers to dinner, and we just have these couple of public events on either side of the dinner or some gathering after one of those public events. but what really happens is sitting down and having good conversation. it brings writers back. it's actually one of the things that people, i think, most appreciate about the writer's institute. writers will be respected as writers.
9:05 am
i remember one writer saying, you know, you go to some literary readings, and you think, gosh, i'm so glad i got through that. let me, you know, catch next plane out. you go to the writer's institute, and you find yourself saying, wow, that was good. i hope they invite me back. >> mom and dad were high school teachers, so we would take family vacations across the country. and instead of going to seaworld and disneyland, we would visit historic sites. by the time i turned 15, i had visited jefferson's monticello, visited steinbeck's home in salinas, i was able to go to red cloud, nebraska. so i think living on the road for family vacations three months in a trailer got me very interested in american history. >> with literature comes very important thing; community. as one old friend used to say, a writer is someone who has
9:06 am
readers. i always thought that was a good, simple line, a good, simple definition of what a writer is. but that effort of creating a community through an art form and enhancing that community, enhancing that general imagination makes having a writer's institute not only a worthwhile thing, but i think a very important thing. and what we've done i think across the years is we've not only exposed people to excellent artwork and writing in particular, but we've educated people to become more discriminating, to become more effective judges of what makes something good. and people read. people buy books. this is a very book-loving community, and i think the writer's institute has done a lot to enhance that.
9:07 am
even on some level create the environment in which people can explore literature especially. i think that there aren't enough programs like this around the country. i wish there were more. the literary community in albany is quite, quite rich, and we're in a kind of feedback loop with it. i don't think such an operation as the writer's institute could have been created in the first place without there being not only a strong group of writers, sort of an arc down from columbia county where a lot of new york city writers have weekend homes all the way up to saratoga and beyond. we have places like yado, the writer's colony there and writers' groups in hudson, new york, east and west into western massachusetts and west to
9:08 am
syracuse. that's the audience sort of circumference that we work with. so when you go back and you find a general population quite proud of albany's connections to henry james and herman melville or even brett hart, a story writer, or just, you know, a little bit further east over to wave to emily dickenson or a little bit further south to say hi to our old friend walt whitman or edith wharton, when we have this sense of the cultural heritage, it helps to amplify writers' own senses of, you know, being part of a larger story which i think is quite important for the whole sense of literary tradition. so there's this rich ground
9:09 am
that's here already. and then the writer's institute comes in and becomes a beacon, it becomes a magnetic pull, it becomes a resource if nothing else, and it may make the rest of that sound too high that luten. but it becomes something that feeds the whole system. it gives fuel. it's fuel to the fire of people's imaginations. and it's very rewarding to see that, to encounter that, to see people in our writing workshops really catch fire with tear own creativity -- with their own creativity because they've been given stuff to work with, they've been challenged by excellence that they've been able to see themselves. >> pulitzer prize-winning author william kennedy explores the political and cultural structure of albany in "o albany."
9:10 am
booktv spoke with mr. kennedy during our recent visit to albany with the help of our partner, time warner cable. >> albany had a bad rap for a very long time because of the politics, for one thing, but also even way back, way back in the building of the capitol in the 1870s. stanford white, the great architect, was working on the capitol, h.h. richardson, a lot of other major architects. this would prove to be the most expensive building on the american continent, $25 million when it was declared finished in '97. by teddy roosevelt. and stanford white came here somewhere around 1872, and he
9:11 am
said of all the terrible things i've got to spend another night in albany. he said of all the one-horse towns, this is the absolute worst. and it was ornery and the devil. and i have to spend another night in albany. but, you know, that changed when the capitol went up. suddenly, albany became a tourist attraction. o albany, which is kind of an impressionistic history of the city, was an ambitious project; 26 articles that covered the whole ethnic history of the city and every geographic neighborhood and a lot more. and it sold extremely well all over the country. it was an unusual development.
9:12 am
and it's been selling ever since. it's, it's a phenomenon that i don't quite understand, but what i discovered was what a fantastic town this is. i, you know, i had left, left albany and really never wanted to come back. you know, i'd come back for the family, but when the circumstances brought me back and then i got thrust into this situation. and so i started to see what a, an epic history this city has. it's the second oldest chartered city in the country in the 17th century, is and it's a, it's been, you know, it's got a history as long before the revolution as it has had since.
9:13 am
it was a central meeting place for all those revolutionaries during the american revolution. washington was in town all the time, lafayette, phillip schuyler, one of the generals of the revolution, lived in albany and so on. benjamin franklin and so on and so on and so on. and the history of those years. and then in the early 19th century albany became the terminus of the eerie canal -- erie canal. the way west. we always were a crossroads. henry hudson came up the river in 1607, and he couldn't go any further than these rocky rocky-bottomed shallows, and it was where he dropped anchor
9:14 am
turned out to be albany eventually. albany is like all of the great eastern cities in its formations. all of the european immigration, the dutch first and then the english and then the germans and then the irish, they came if fantastic numbers into new york, philadelphia, boston and so on and albany. albany had so many irish that they couldn't handle it during the famine, and they stopped -- they closed our borders and would not let anymore people in. there were so many people coming into the city. eventually, the irish became dominant in the 19th century in numbers. in 1875 census i think it showed
9:15 am
that one in six albanians was born in ireland. add to this the politics, and albany was always a political city. even in dutch colonization, it was a rebellious city. in the time of the english, likewise when we had the revolution plotters and schemers and drafters of the constitution gathering in albany, franklin's albany, plan of union. and so, so it went through the years. one of the great politicians of all time in this state, in the country was the mayor of albany. he had uninterrupted success from the time he was elected in 1942 until he died in hospital
9:16 am
of emphysema in 1983. eleven terms uninterrupted. and he, that's the longest-running mayor of any city in the united states. and he was very proud of that achievement. he was part of this fantastic political machine which took power away from the republicans in 1921. and the key figure in that was an irishman, dan o'connell. there was four o'connell brothers, and there were a couple of corning brothers. the father was one of them, and they founded the new democratic party, and they took the city back from the republicans that had run it since 1899. and when they took it in 1921,
9:17 am
they never let go. it's still in power. succession has been on through the deaths of the two people who were the key perpetuators of the machine. dan o'connell died in 1977, and e rasmus six years later. and after that came tommy whalen who was appointed, chosen as successor by corning, and now jerry jennings succeeded tommy whalen, who died, who served for ten years and then quit. and he, he was succeeded in a primary, and that was unheard of because you never contravened the choices of the political boss, dan o'connell. he was an absolute, major power
9:18 am
who did not share his power. and he, he ran a very tight ship, and he was the most incredible politician. james mcgregor burns said that -- the historian -- he said you know what we really should do is put this political machine fully as it exists right now into the smithsonian institution so we know what a boss machine is all about. and so, but, you know, after tommy whalen came into power, he changed everything. he opened up the city. it was no longer the boss machine, and jerry jennings is in the same -- he's, they've run an open city, and it's not at all the kind of tammany hall
9:19 am
politics that albany was famous for. it was, you know, a notable target constantly through the whole 20th century, so through the '80s, a target for reformers and especially republican reformers when the governors got into power, thomas e. dewey tried to make his way into the white house on the backs of the albany machine, and he failed. nelson rockefeller investigated them, and he failed. the machine went on and on and on, but it was, you know, who knows how many elections they stole, and the graft was extraordinary. but it was, it was the consolidation of power of the
9:20 am
ethnic groups that had been coming into this country. they were all part of this mosaic that came to be this political machine. but, by and large, it was run by these two guys, an irishman and a connecticut yankee. it's, it's the history of the city that's in the subtitle, fearless ethnics, political wizards, underrated scoundrels. and we still have a lot of those. but it's a different town now. it's, i mean, it's no longer just albany. it's about five or six towns all put together. it's troy, it's schenectady, it's colony, it's saratoga. saratoga's only half an hour
9:21 am
away. and these are great places to live and to see, and can there's a lot to see in this town. town is coming back. it's also a great, a beautiful town. it's a really beautiful town, and a lot of people know it know. it doesn't have that reputation anymore that fanford white thought it had. >> albany, new york, is one of the oldest surviving settlements from the original and colonies and the longest continuously-chartered city in the united states. next, we hear from jack casey. his book tells the story of katiri, a mohawk woman born in 1656 who was recently named the first native american to enter sainthood. >> well, lily of the mohawks is a name that was given to a young woman who was named -- [inaudible] in her own culture, and she was
9:22 am
baptized by the jesuits, and she took the name catherine which has been anglicized from her culture into kateri. and she's called lily of the mohawks because she's seen as blooming in a land from the bloodshed of the martyrs that preceded her. there were three or four martyrs in that land, in the mohawk valley about ten years before she was born. so she is a lily that has bloomed out of that sort of spiritual effort by the jesuits in the 17th century. so she escaped, and she went up near montreal. there was a mission up there, st. francis xavier mission. and she came to the attention of a priest named father claude -- [inaudible] and he was a sort of a spiritual refugee from france. he was having his own spiritual dilemmas. and when he encountered her, he saw this incredible spirituality that was sort of unexpressed,
9:23 am
and he was able to sort of draw it out of her and allow her spirituality, her mysticism, her deep devotion to jesus christ to sort of help him ale his own doubts, his own spiritual doubts. and i think together there was a confluence there of this spiritual energy which i think is a love story on a very high-refined level. it's sort of a divine love that, say, you or i wouldn't be able to appreciate. and they had this, this union, i suppose, where they sort of circled each other, and he observed her, and i think she observed him. when she died at the age of 24, it was april 17, 1680, immediate will have after her -- immediately after her death, her body was transfigured. and there are two written accounts which are part of that book right there which was part of her cause over if rome.
9:24 am
now, she's already passed away, she's only 24 years old, and she was a recluse. she only had a couple of female friends that knew her very well, but for the priests. and she started this curing, and she started affecting substantial cures. women in childbirth were having breach birth, and he would apply dirt from her grave or pieces of her clothing, and they'd burn some of her granters and they -- garments, and they made a tea out of it. these miracles can kept up until about 1760 when the english came in and took canada back or took canada from the french, and then everything ceased. the jesuits were expelled. i think some of them remained, but they were really suppressed, catholicism was suppressed. and they came back in the 1840s. and in the 1840s, they rediscovered her, and they got some of the man you scripts about her out of the archives, and they rekindled this interest in her. and she started affecting more cures. now, the miracle that prompted
9:25 am
her, prompted the pope to cannonnize her, i think 2005-2006 there was a young boy, native american in the state of washington up near seattle, and he was playing basketball, and he fell down, and he hit his lip on the pedestal of the basketball hoop. and he was afflicted with the flesh-eating bacteria. and if you go online, you can either google her name or his name, social security jake finkbonner. his name was jake finkbonner. they have pictures of him when he was in the throes of this malady. he had survived. his surgeons were absolutely miraculous in the way they were able to graft his skin to cover what had been consumed by the bacteria x they attribute his survival, his cure to her intersession. and so that was verified to the vatican. they have a battery of physicians and scientists and all that to verify that these are supernormal, paranormal,
9:26 am
whatever, occurrences that can only come from above, and they verified that, and then the process is still somewhat slow. that was in '05 or '06 when he had that malady. and then they decided to cananize her last year, i think it was in december of 2011, and they put it forward, and october 21, 2012, was the date of her cananization. so a novelized biography is where you take the facts, and you try to tell a story out of it. and you try to get the human psychology that we can respect because we are alive, and we have people that we've known, and, you know, we know our own art. and you try to make it, you know, in a way that's sympathetic. and i don't mean sympathetic that it's, you know, soft-soaped, i mean sympathetic where you say, that's true, and that's true in a deeper way than
9:27 am
just the facts. so you try to tell the story in a way that's inductive to the reader, where the reader's on the edge of his or hear seat saying, oh, my god, what would i have done in this situation? and any great movie that you've been to, any great book that you've read, that's really the magic, i think. so a novelized biography is a creation. other than just the bare facts as you saw in that book, anything that's written about her necessarily 300 years later has to have some degree of fiction to it and some degree of projection to whoever's writing it. so what i've tried to do is show her as much as a man can get into a woman's head or a woman's heart, to show her going through these various struggles and surmounting a lot of these difficulties that she was able to surmount. what it did for her inside and how it brought her to this place
9:28 am
that the whole that reveres her and explain to people. i suppose love her. >> on a recent visit to albany, new york, with the help of our partner, time warner cable, booktv explored the literary and cultural atmosphere of the city. albany, known as one of the most populist cities in the u.s. in 1810, is home to several institutions of higher learning including the university at albany, state university of new york, the albany law school which is the fourth oldest law school in the u.s. and the albany college of pharmacy and health sciences. >> we're in the university at albany library's department of special collections and
9:29 am
archives, and we're the main repository on campus for collecting archival records, historical records and primary sources that are used by students, teachers, professors, scholars, journalists and many others to do historical research. [background sounds] >> the national death penalty archive was started here at the university at albany in 2001. it was a partnership between the archivist here in the department of special collections and archives and faculty members in the school of criminal justice. there is no national death penalty archive for documenting the fascinating history of capital punishment in the united states, so we set forth to establish the first death penalty archive. and what we do is we reach out to key organizations, significant individuals who are working either to abolish
9:30 am
capital punishment or are proponents of capital punishment. and these individuals and organizations form the ideas that frame the debate that goes on both in the legal arena and the political arena over the death penalty. what i want to show you from the national death penalty archive today is a collection from a gentleman whose name is m. watt espy jr. he is recognized as the foremost historian of the death penalty in the united states. he began doing research on the death penalty in the late 1960s while he was a traveling salesman, became so fascinated with crime and capital punishment. and at that time he was a proponent of the death penalty. but he became so fascinated with the topic of the death penalty that he quit his job and dedicated his life to documenting every single person executed in the united states since the beginning of this
9:31 am
country. when he started his work, there was -- he collectedded all these primary sources, and i'm going to show you some of these documents from the collection right now. so here is a picture of watt espy in his home in alabama surrounded by the walls of his home that he had framed with people who were executed. and these are the kinds of things that he went to small city governments, county governments doing local research to document, his goal was to document every single person executed in this country. one of the persons that espy piled information on was the youngest person to be executed in the united states in the 20th
9:32 am
century. and if you think about the history of capital punishment, some themes draw out. one of the themes is the execution of children. this has been debated, and ideas and perspectives have been given on this, is it right to execute children. another theme is, is it proper to execute people who are mentally ill? another issue that is drawn out in the history of capital punishment is the factor of race in determining sentencing of capital punishment. it's been statistically proven by david ball discuss and others that race is a mitigating factor in capital punishment sentencing. so these themes of race, of executing the young, executing the mentally ill are some of the themes that you can draw out of the collection. so here we have george stinney. george was 14 years old when he was convicted of killing an
9:33 am
11-year-old girl in south carolina in 1944. he was 14 years old, he was barely 95 pounds dripping wet, he was five-foot tall, and he was swiftly convicted and executed within three months of his crime. now, when he was executed, he was put in an electric chair. of course, this was built for adults, so they could barely get the straps around his wrists and around his legs, he was so skinny and thin. but this speaks to the issue of do we want to execute in this country people wore children? and then he would create an index card on that individual person. so here we see george stinney, and this is espy. he created this card. talks about barely 14 years old, where he's from in south
9:34 am
carolina. march 24, 1944, he encountered an 8-year-old and an 11-year-old girl who worked with george s, stinney's father, it seems like. and eventually, a fairly brutal crime was committed. it says here: speedily brought to trial for the death of ms. bin, iker. he was convicted and sentenced to die, the indictment for the murder was prosecuted, but he did not receive the death sentence for the second death. no appeal. clemency was denied by the governor who stated that, quote, the brutality of the crime negated any consideration of his youthfulness. after his conviction he admitted to the murders, and then goes down: stinney made no comment
9:35 am
after entering the death chamber with a bible tucked under his arms, and the guards had difficulty strapping his slight form in the chair which had been designed for adults. at the time of his execution, he was only 14 years, 5 months old. and then he cites where he got that information from. so the espy papers contain about 90 boxes of records, index cards on 16,000 people who were executed in the united states. the first person executed in the united states was 1608 in jamestown, virginia. george kimball was executed for espionage. [background sounds] >> his father was, managed a bank, so i don't know if this ledger had any connection to that.
9:36 am
but he wrote down every single person once he discovered that they were executed. he started off with the ledger. it's much -- and so you'll see here he lists their name, their occupation, what city they came from, the crime, the age, the motive, the date, all the factual information about the person executeed. so you'll see we're in south carolina here, if we turn here is south carolina, and here is george stinney. black, 14. it's interesting that he first calls george stinney but then crosses that out and then calls him a student. so the county, where he was
9:37 am
from, his crime murder, and he adds here of 11-year-old white girl, and then his date of execution, june 16, 1944. so you can see here how meticulous espy was in his research. the ledger itself goes from about 1968 to about 1982. and then he went to the index card method. but it's clearly the most comprehensive collection on people executed in the united states from the very first person in 1608 til when he stopped working, i think, around 2005 he stopped collecting. he became somewhat ill. i think one of the things that he would say is that he started off as a proponent of the death penalty, but as he did his research, as he realized that
9:38 am
people who were innocent were executed, again, people who were children were executed, people who didn't have the mental capacity all the time to know what he, what they were doing in a crime. one of the interesting things connected to the death penalty archive that is not necessarily part of espy's research is the idea that some of the organizations whose records we have are, they are groups of murder victims and family members of murder victims who are against the death penalty. so that aspect of research is fascinating, that someone whose spouse or child was the victim of a grisly crime, gruesome crime would then advocate not for the death penalty. so that's an interesting aspect also. these collections are the way that historians whether students or professional scholars or journalists, this is how people research and write history.
9:39 am
they use primary source documents as evidence to prove their arguments. they use primary sources to document the people and organizations that they're writing about. essentially, this is the raw material for historians and historical researchers to provide evidence for history. i always like to say that a historian is very similar to a lawyer. they have an argument, and they need to present that argument and present what their thesis is. and they need to provide evidence to back up their thesis. well, here at the archive and special collections we take care, and we manage all of that evidence that historians have for research and writing purposes. >> given its proximity to the hudson river and erie canal, albany began as a center of transportation and early railroad systems. now home to just under 100,000
9:40 am
residents, the city serves as the capital of new york. >> my name is susan no so theny, i'm the owner of the book house of stuyvesant plaza in beautiful downtown troy. right now we're at the stuyvesant plaza store, and we have been here since 1975, and, um, we sell books. real books. books that you can hold in your hand, crack open, cuddle up in a chair with, those kind of books. i started out, um, in the publishing industry, i was a sales rep for simon & schuster and then for penguin, now -- then-putnam, that was back in the '70s and the '80s, and i sold books all over upstate new york and throughout new england. and after about ten years of that peripatetic lifestyle, i decided i wanted to go to the other side of the counter and sell books. and so i went to work for the
9:41 am
bookstore here in this plaza, and i eventually bought into the business and then bought the business out. and so i have been here since, as sole owner since 1991. and it's been an up and down history since then. shortly after i purchased the store, um, with a small business administration loan, it was barnes & noble and borders moved in, and literally the literary landscape of albany, new york, changed overnight as it did across the country. because that expansion into the area of the chains took about 11 other independent bookstores out of business. but the book house was left standing. and through the '90s it was really a tough, competitive battle for our market share in this town, but we survived.
9:42 am
part of the reason we survived was that the community came to our rescue. they said we don't want you to go away, we want you to survive, and we want to spend our money here at this store. and that's why we're here, because the commitment of albany has said they want us here, and they're willing to come in and pay a little bit more than they might pay somewhere else in order to keep us afloat. really, first and foremost the thing that picks this place special is my staff people. and i have 22 booksellers, and of those 22, some of them have been with me anywhere from 10-20 years. and we've, we operate like a family, occasionally a
9:43 am
dysfunctional family, but we, we have a good, a really good relationship with each other, and we do all understand our mission here is to keep this store open. the store's more than just these four walls and the fact that we sell books. the store is us out in the community. each one of us is, gives time to the community on a personal basis. many of our staff people are volunteers with various reading readness/literacy volunteers, the aids council, the league of women voters, various, you know, like the women's club which tries to connect with the realizing and literary community as well. i could go on and on. our is very, very long. of good works that we do outside
9:44 am
the store. and we have formed some, you know, real, solid connections with the literary community here, with not only the writing community, but the reading community. we became very involved with bill kennedy's new york state writer's institute, so bringing famous authors and not-so-famous authors into town on a regular basis set this store apart as being -- and set albany apart as being a kind of mecca for great writers. albany is, today like their local authors, for sure. they like their william kennedys and their richard russos and their russell banks and, you know, and their peter goldens and their judy barnes. they do love their local authors, and they do support their local authors. but on the whole albany's a very, they're a very voracious
9:45 am
group of readers. one of the real calling cards here is our staff picks section. and we're all voracious readers, and people come in, and they have a certain amount of money to spend, they have a certain amount of time to devote to reading, and they don't really want to spend a lot of time taking a gamble on a book that they might not like. so staff picks is a section they go to immediately to find books that they like, that margie read or julia read or susan taylor read. then they come back and say i really like her selections, i want to read another book like the one i just read, susan taylor's the one to guide me. and so it's a, you know, our communication with our readers that come in here is very intimate. we know what they like, and they know what we like. it used to be that you could run an independent bookstore just
9:46 am
on, on love. but you can't anymore. you have to be business-minded first and foremost because you're not going to get any to have the rest of it unless you have a good mind for business. and it is, after all, a business. there were a lot of people out there that are toast because the, because of the digital transitions that we've been going through, because of e-books, because of the disintegration and reorganization of our industry. a lot of people do worry what about whether or not we do have a future. and that's a legitimate question now. because with the merger of random house and penguin, that's a concern to many of us. for us booksellers, that's like
9:47 am
a marriage between snow white and satan. penguin's publicly-stated philosophy is if these people fail, we will fail, because real books are here to stay. random house is a lot more draconian in their credit policies. penguin's very liberal in their credit policies. random house, who will be the majority shareholder in this merger, has not been so kind to us. so we worry that snow white and satan might not be such a good marriage for us. we don't know which one's going to win out. do they want to just take our business away from us and abandon us, or do they realize
9:48 am
that they will fail if we fail? and so the new york publishing industry does have a big question to answer as they go through this merger process. do you want your independent booksellers, your brick and mortar booksellers? because i would even include barnes & noble in there, too, do you want them to survive, or do you just want to get bigger? we've always been at the forefront of anything that could help us from the technology world. we got the database together back in the early '80s and were one of the first to go on to a computer system. so once you got -- that was, we wrapped our mind around that project, then we were able to make the store more profitable. but over the years, um, most
9:49 am
recently is that in order to diversify we started our own digital book-on-demand business called the troy bookmakers where we make books. we literally physically make books. we, um, we take the manuscript, we format it into a book, we print the pages, we dip it in glue, we trim it up, slap a cover on it, and we make beautiful books. for our local authors that want to self-publish and also for some of the, you know, for some of the professors that want to do textbooks, for people that want to do family cookbook, you name it. but we've stayed right at the cutting edge of digital printing technology. and the other avenue that we've gone down to to stay on top of things is we started our own publishing company called staff picks press. and the inspiration for it was, of course, staff picks. we knew that if we found a
9:50 am
manuscript that we loved, we knew that we could sell it. so we just had to find the right author, the right manuscript, and so we're on to our fourth book now, and we don't have a, you know, we don't do 20 books a year because i would have a nervous breakdown if we did. [laughter] but we're making great, great progress. there you go. >> thanks. >> thank you. unfortunately, because of, you know, the fact that we've lost so many independent bookstores over the past two decades, originally there were about 5,000 of us back in the '90s and now we're down to, you know, a couple thousand of us, so there are 34re7bty of communities -- plenty of communities that don't have an independent bookstore. and i think people do know it's a real loss to the community that they don't.
9:51 am
um, and if they do have one, they need to treasure it and take care of it and patronize it. and if they don't have one, we all have web sites. [laughter] >> coverage of our recent trip to albany, new york, continues with sally friedman. her book, "dilemmas of representation," explores how local poll tibs are a-- politics are affected by national factors. >> so the title of my book is "dilemmas of representation," and it's about a couple of things. the first thing is that it's about dilemmas of representation. i really wanted to show -- i was really interested in representation, and i wanted to show that when members of congress, quote, represent their districts, that representation can really mean a lot of different things to different congress people. it's not one size fits all, and
9:52 am
i really wanted to show the choices members of congress or were making, and i really wanted the reader to think about so of all those choices, what, what style of representation does the reader think is best? that's one of the advantages of profiling ten members of congress. they were only ten members of congress, but you really could get an in-depth picture in terms of the local national distinction, which i wrote down in a lot of different ways. so, you know, it's not as simple as that, but we found, a, that local politics still mattered to an enormous extent. there's any number of stories in the book, um, highlighting local politics, constituency service, um, members of congress helping individuals, um, for me local was the kind of stuff that we're used to seeing, um, bringing projects to the district.
9:53 am
doing constituency service. just interpersonally hanging out with constituents. being from the district and really highlighting your roots to your, to your constituents. that's the kind of stuff that congress literature has really talked about. um, for me, national was about bringing discussions of national issues back home to the district, um, was bringing in national party help or national figures, um, was coming from outside of the district so it was anything outside the district that was going on nationally. so i think in some ways, you know, that politics hasn't changed. the local is there. i think the national is there
9:54 am
too. lots of congress people talking about local issues as we know today, lots of congressmen, congress people being partisan, taking the stands of their parties, but just being involved in whatever's going on of the time. um, you know, be it the contract with america, then be it women's issues, be it issues of minorities or immigration, just lots of national examples. and that in a lot of ways local and national were connected. um, obviously, the national politics was interesting to me, um, as it played out in local districts. um, i was also given that i was surprised by allow local things still were. i mean, i know it's a book that's supposed to talk about and eye light national politics -- highlight national politics. i was surprised how local politics still was.
9:55 am
and the other thing that impressed me within, i mean, we talk a lot that members of congress are supposed to, quote, represent their constituency and try to show that, you know, what does representation mean? it means a lot of different things, but within that i guess i was impressed by that members of congress have to put their, really were able to put their own stamp on what they were doing. it mattered who a particular representative was. the representatives differed from their predecessors by, to some extent, which issues they focused on or for how they dealt with their constituency. and a lot of that seemed to come from some version of just who they were or what they had done before they got to congress. and that impressed me. i think our dilemmas faced and choices faced by members of congress, you know, to different degrees and, you know, in
9:56 am
different specifics, but all across the country. and i think a bunch of the findings about, you know, that constituencies are so different and that that influences a member's choices and that members of congress, um, their backgrounds really play a role in what they do. i think all of that is information that generalizes across the country, and i also think that, again, i only interviewed ten members of congress, but really getting a holistic perspective on those members really just adds so much depth to what you know. and, you know, a little corny, but you really appreciate all the different things these members do. and i think at a time when members are getting, you know, congress is getting really trashed and bashed and all that kind of stuff that it's really hartening, i guess can -- heartening, i guess, in some
9:57 am
ways that makes you appreciate the holistic picture of members of congress in their districts. so how did i research the book, most of it is based on public records sources. i took the perspective of i'm the average constituent, so i'm not going to have of a lot of access to members. and so i looked at newspaper articles, internet sources, um, all kinds of public record documents. i interviewed a couple of them, but after a while i decided to stay away from, um, stay away from the interview perspective, and i really tried to take the view of i'm the outsider. if somebody wanted to find out about members of congress from the outside, obviously, i'm an overly interested outsider, so i'm not the typical outsider, but if somebody wanted to find out about members, you know, what would they have to do to do that. and just that there's an amazing
9:58 am
amount of public record sources out there. you can find out just a lot and enough to, enough to really get a good picture, get a very reasonable picture of what a member of congress is doing. >> next, we take a tour of the uss slater with robert cross, port commissioner and author of "shepherds of the sea." the retired u.s. destroyer escort has been restored and is anchored at albany. mr. cross describes the role these boats played in winning the second world war. >> the shepherds of the sea, and it's a book, basically, about destroyer escorts in world war ii and the men who sailed them. and destroyer escorts actually ended up being the most important, um, successful and valuable antisubmarine vessel in the united states fleet during world war ii. they're credited with sinking some 70 u-boats, 26 japanese
9:59 am
submarines, and they fought in every major battle in the pacific theater. so they were a very senate force in world world war ii -- signift force in world war ii. and what's even more remarkable to me is the people who were manning these boats. these were mostly teenagers with little or no experience on the water. in fact, some of them told me that the only thing they knew about boats is that the pointed end went first. so they were a remarkable group of teenagers. they were very courageous, and they were being led by their skippers, and their skippers were, um, ivy league college boys who were, you know, basically naval reserve. and they were more used to being aboard yachts than warships. they were sent out on these novel vessels, destroyer escorts, which were brand new and had never been tested before. the original idea was franklin roosevelt in 1940, he recommended that these vessels
10:00 am
be built to deal with the continuing presence of the nazi u-boats in world war ii on the north atlantic. and winston churchill warned roosevelt and america that, basically, something had to be done to stop hitler's u-boats in the war before, as he said it, america -- the sea would become america's cage, cutting off all commerce between the united states, england and europe. and so the president ordered them built in 1940, but the navy, um, decided that that was probably not a good idea, so they convinced the president that the scarce resources that were available at that time would be better spent on destroyers. and i think that if, if you look at the historical record, you'll see that that probably was a mistake. ..
10:01 am
it was built in the tampa shipyard. there were 563 destroyed air escorts built. seventeen shipyards all across the country. it actually came late in the game, like a lot of them. this is 1944. it did a few escort's back and forth across the atlantic. one interesting thing that the
10:02 am
slater did do, the only nazi submarine, the only you-book captured by the americans and will work to was captured by destroyer escort. they get a treasure trove of material, conference of documents, actually a half a ton from this you -- u-boat 505. one of the torpedoes was loaded on to this letter and brought back to america for study along with the all important in the machine, and that was the codebreaking machine. and it actually was very useful because it came on the eve of the normandy invasion. they were able to actually take that off and ran back to america and it was very helpful and breaking the german code. one of the sailors -- most of the sailors had never been aboard a submarine at all, let
10:03 am
alone the adjournment u-boat. storming through looking for -- and meanwhile the u-boat is flooding because before the germans went overboard the open up the boss of a good love it is that in what the americans in the materials are confidential documents. he's running through the passageways and is into the captain's quarters and he opens the captain's desk and fines of mont blanc pen. he taught this was a nice treasure. optic to some. you're not allowed to keep any of it, but he kept it. he kept the pen. he brought it home. years later it ran at a think. he contacted the company and said, you know, whatever refill for the span. they said, no, i'm sorry. so where did you get it? and he said to my gut it off you
10:04 am
505. heat they said if you send that new one. which he didn't do. i interviewed 91 sailors and officers. at some point you had to stop because he never did your book written. an interesting thing, interesting to me how patriotic the young men were back in those days. after pearl harbor every walmart to join up. so that a lie about their age, forged birth certificates, to a variety of things just to get into the military. and this one sailor from new jersey wants it very badly to get into the military after pearl harbor. so his problem was he had very bad guys -- ice.
10:05 am
he knew he could not pass the test again. he was also a very avid reader. he read popular science. he noticed all that there was this experimental program called invisible lines. it was a program that was sort of the precursor to the contact lenses. so he got on the train, went into new york, and enrolled in the program and got his set of invisible lines. he went to the recruiting station and watched coveted the examination. he watched the navy, and the navy had one line. you would go down the line and did your physical exam, a psychological exam and in the eye exam. he knew he could not get in the line. he watched the coast guard. officials for your physical exam
10:06 am
and a psychological exam and therefore she passed up the torch again in for your eye exam. brokers said to read the bottom line as he said how far down the cajon. he read ph.d. and civil you reading. you're reading patent pending. he said you clearly have eyes of an eagle. that was just how so many people, so many of the sailors that i enter the when it ended because of patriotism, it was the right thing to do. we sent in to see no warship had
10:07 am
ever been manned by an african-american group. the first warship was the uss mason which was a destroyer escort. franklin roosevelt wanted to do something to end racial discrimination in the had to be very careful eleanor roosevelt was a very strong proponent of the equal rights and doing something to end racial discrimination. so she continually prodding fragmented do something. he decided that he would have one of these new destroyer escorts be manned by an african-american group and white officers. they went off in the battle of the atlantic commanded some heroic things.
10:08 am
and there were recommended, the crew was recommended for a navy commendation by their white captain. and maybe did not want these people on the first place. and so they decided they were calling to give an accommodation . it was not given until 50 years later when president clinton actually was the person is given if you look at the ship and think about it to my over to and people in the space of 35 feet d 200 fee -- 300 feet long it's pretty tight accommodations. if you lived here in the bagram incident they're really aren't enough punch from the people is a tough situation, especially they're would be out on the water for months at a time. there were smaller ships. so on the northern atlantic it
10:09 am
could be a very difficult situation out there. bridey these types of vessels and other military aid to other countries. so this particular vessel went to greece. it was their number one vessel for a long, long time until about 1991 when the greek government decided they no longer needed the vessel. within a very short time the destroyer escort service association raised nearly $300,000 to have it towed back to america. it was housed for a short time
10:10 am
at the intrepid air c space museum in new york city. when they no longer had room for them to search for a new home. mayor jennings felt this would be a wonderful attraction on the waterfront, he was trying to revitalize the time. and now it's the only destroy air as core still afloat and america in its original world war ii configuration. this is the kind of thing that allows people to see what it was like back then, why there was world war ii and what happened and how valuable the sailors were who served aboard these vessels. it is a remarkable testimony, i think, to a degree of -- bravery of the men back in those days. >> and no more from albany, new york, with the help of time warner cable we take a look at one of the original talking book and braille libraries.
10:11 am
>> in new york state library goes back to 1818. one of the first state libraries in the nation with a very, very proud of a long tradition of being able to share resources with everyone. >> and certainly that talking book and barrell library is, for me, one of the cornerstones. sort of the, you know, the diamond at the top in terms of saying, the commitment that new york makes to its people is a commitment to everyone. if you just take a moment to think about not being able to open up booked and read it without some other kind of in fact -- intervention you get the idea. this is a pretty amazing servers that the government has created and that we have been able to offer here in new york for decades and decades. >> the congress annotation.
10:12 am
>> this is the free service that is offered through the national library service for the blind and the library of congress to citizens in all the 50 states. the focus is to provide the chance for people to read who are in some way print disabled, people who can't hold a normal book or read and all book. and may be blind. they may have other handicaps or disabilities that prevent them from opening a book and using a boat as it is intended. so we circulate about 850,000 different items, representing a huge, vast array of fiction, popular fiction, nonfiction, the holy bible. you name it. and most of those are either mailed to people, our movement
10:13 am
now is for digital books or for people to be able to download from their home computer for home device for a book or magazine to use a home. we serve individuals, about 15,000 people are regularly part of our clientele. then we serve people through about 3,000 institutions. nursing homes, hospitals, day care centers. other places where people in the community gathered to me. and in many of those places we have deposits of material, and those might be talking books or books in braille, but also where we get people connected to our service. the network the we a part of includes all the states, every state in the union has the least one talking both library. and the design obviously was to be sure that everywhere this idea of ' will access and equal
10:14 am
access to materials is fulfilled in new york your local library. if you go into any public library, school's library and even academic libraries. if you are in some way print disabled and need help, be able to read press materials or hear or listen to print materials, those libraries make a connection to us and we'll make arrangements for people to have improved access. the services are in significant transition from books that used to be recorded pretty much, the old cassette tape idea to using the latest in digital technology , and we're very excited about this transition because it makes it faster, cheaper, more efficient to get
10:15 am
the quality reading materials. the services designed for the government to be sure the people have equitable access to these materials. and in the spirit of the public libraries in this country we have over 15,000 libraries. we have more public libraries and mcdonald's. we have a chance to be sure that everyone has a chance to be well-informed citizens, which obviously is most critical, but also to enjoy the rewards of being able to read great novels and great literature and be part of the world. we call ourselves the talking broken drill library. braille is not as popular as a used to be. the braille is expensive to
10:16 am
produce, uses a lot of paper. it is a paper base technology. actually a new addition just came out in the past couple of weeks. pretty amazing an important reference tool. in braille a hundred and seven volumes, 107 volumes. a don't know how many, 20 to 30 shells filled with the volumes of what most people low as one pretty chunky volume. and in digital form, will stick about that big. the economy around braille is, i think, pushing a lot of people to think about all the other forms, particularly the digital form the novel. while many people still speak grill, use braille to mccrery brill, as the printers and the
10:17 am
punches that are part of the braille language, we are seeing, i think, many elderly years not use braille but rather use obviously all of the other audio and connected forms that there are in terms of communication. so many of the hand-held devices have speaking capabilities and audio capabilities. on not to make any predictions about brail, but i think we are seeing less and less of it. it is interesting as we talk about the transition of braille and the movement. one of our challenges is that we have many transitions in the world talking books. the transition from braille to all the other forms. the transition from the old cassette tapes, which is a
10:18 am
technology that the national lover service will stop completely at the beginning of next year. there will be producing anything in those tips forms. that will be done. and in most people's personal lives cassette tape has been gone for a few years. and so we are aware but behind the curve there. obviously a movement into digital form, and that comes in several different forms, but generally a low magic stick. i'm guessing that will be changing soon as well just because things are getting smaller. more compartmentalized. cheaper to produce and faster to produce. and we want to be sure the people who are print disabled get there books, you know caloric and and there. we don't want people to have to wait. so we are transitioning along
10:19 am
with the national library service for the blind and all the areas of our collection. you see behind me all these cases. these are digital materials. if you look around you see a lot of cases in green. those are often filled with cassette materials that will be obsolete. our challenge and that the federal level the challenges how many of these older materials to we need to reconfigure into informants so that there will be available for people. and how long can we afford to operate in several different models, some times particularly older people find themselves once they learn a particular technology, a particular piece of machinery there want to stick with it because they understand it. and so we try to be sensitive to
10:20 am
individual needs, but at the same time our goal this ticket as much material available to as many people at the lowest possible cost as quickly as we possibly can. the structure of the talking book lovers and the national service for the one is a structure based on a federal statute that permits the national lover service which is part of the library of congress to secure copyright support, to enable them to create talking books from books that would otherwise be sold was audio books. so the federal government has devised an arrangement that is part of the world of copyright so that people who create books, whether they're in printed form or audio form, retain their rights of ownership in our world
10:21 am
of copyright. but basically with some fees and some other relationships enable the government to invest additional resources to convert those books and talking books the than are available through the talking book and a library. in some cases, not always, it is the same boat. it may even be the same narration. in many, many cases the books that are part of a talking book and barrell library are books that are not available in the marketplace as audio books. and even though all lot of our materials are very, very popular things, but sellers, the new york times bestsellers. there sometimes is a lag in terms of their availability just because the marketplace sort of dictates what the paying customers out there first.
10:22 am
those are the audio books that he might buy on liner from your favorite bookstore. talking books play if he were to listen to any of the ones the we have, they are extremely professionally done. the periodicals that people can get as part of a talking book and the library also, the narrators are still given the many of them might be volunteers . and if you love any kind of audio book, you will be very attracted to these materials. the audience is limited, and obviously i think most people would understand that if these were widely available in there were available for free the people who have created them would not get the appropriate return on their creative energy.
10:23 am
so we are very respectful and awful to be sure that people qualify for the service. but we go to great lengths to be short. in part his one-of-a-kind wisdom and famously quirky humor, eliminating the celtics at work in our lives. >> it is one of those remarkable services that the government has designed and funded in order to do what our democracy needs to do, and that is to be sure that, again, everyone has that access to be well-informed citizens then to deal to fully participate in all of the things that our democracy has to offer. >> for more pressure on this and other cities go to / local content. >> with a month left in 2012 many publications are putting together their year-end list of notable books.
10:24 am
book tv will feature several of these lists focusing on nonfiction. these and nonfiction titles or include in foreign policy magazine. in breakout nations in pursuit of the next economic miracles, head of emerging markets and morgan stanley reports on growing economies and a shifting global economic power. senator rand paul argues against what he deems are far reaching government regulations in government bullies, however day americans are being harassed, abuse, and imprisoned by the feds in the new religious intolerance, overcoming the politics of fear and an anxious age. law and ethics professor at the university of chicago presents reports on how to promote religious freedoms. novelist and poet and author of things fall apart provides a firsthand account of the nigerian civil war from 1967- 1970 in there was a country, a personal history.
10:25 am
in the world america made him a senior fellow at the brookings institution opines on what the world would be like if america reduced its international. for an extended list of links to various publications 2012 notable books elections is a book tv website or our facebook page. >> joining as again, senator rand paul. his second book, government bullies. who are the boys? >> all throughout your government. forty-one different agencies who carry firearms alan the government. well, i don't mind the police of the fbi. well, the department of agriculture has a s.w.a.t. team. the fish and wildlife of the s.w.a.t. team. in fact, the official of life raided a gibson guitar with guns drawn , took all their keep -- computer equipment and not let them know what they were accused
10:26 am
of for one year. when they finally accused them of something it was breaking it born regulation, a law in india there were accused of breaking and penalized in the u.s. for breaking a law in india. as the kind of stories we read about. >> outcome we have not heard about the before? >> some of then you have. one of them is the case of john and judy dollar right now selling bunnies and a little town. they were fined $90,000 for having the wrong permit. the government said you can pay on our website. $90,000. if you don't pay in 30 days euless $3 million. this is the kind of stuff that your government is doing to bully people, and we, frankly, think it need to stop. they're doing the same with confiscating people's land in san you can build on it because it's a wet land even though there is no water or stream or pond on the land. >> as a senator what can you do
10:27 am
to the changed policy? >> we have looked at some of these things, and we have now constructive legislation to try to fix them. on the wetlands we say, the clean water act says you can't discharge pollutants into navigable waters. i know have a problem with that, but your backyard is not navigable water, and there is not a pollutant. we try to redefine the clean water act to make sure they're not putting people in prison for putting things they're in their backyard. that is what has been happening. a woman in southern mississippi and 84 months in federal prison without parole for putting clean dirt on her own land. >> when you talk to your colleagues about these incidents , what do you hear? >> some are horrified. but eight of them who signed on and co-sponsored my bill to try to fix it. the other 92, i'm not sure what they're thinking about, but when you tell the american people how the government is harassing, abusing, and even imprisoning people for selling raw milk, you
10:28 am
can go to an amish farmer, some of these on the farmers have been arrested and threatened with jail because they're selling out to the neighbors. >> will you be taking these issues nationwide? >> we will be talking about it everywhere anyone listen because we think government has gotten out of control. government has run amok, and they have become the bully. someone has to stand up to a bully. >> november 2012, post-election. what did the 2012 elections clarify for you? >> that we as republicans need to do something to grow as a party. we are in danger of becoming a dinosaur if we don't figure out what people want out on the west coast, new england, around the great lakes. they are solid blue. until we figure out what people want we are not going to win again as a party. >> what do you think they're one? >> i think they are conservative. it think we should balance our budget, but they also don't
10:29 am
think we should be have were everywhere all the time. they want a little more tolerant policy as far as putting people in prison for possession of marijuana. i think it would like to see more local judges take care of that unless present time. i'm not in favor of encouraging people to use marijuana, but i don't think we should be putting people in jail for another. >> this is your second book. we did a long form interview on your first book. you can once that at just put rand paul into the search function. the premise of that first book. >> the first book was the tea party goes to washington. it was about the tea party movement. i think it was an extraordinary movement, probably the biggest movement to happen in politics and our country in 40 years. a lot of people were showing up. hundreds of thousands of people showed up rallies, and it transformed the way we think about things in the sense that people began to question whether or not long that was passed by washington, obamacare as one
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 12/9/2012